Saturday, November 8, 2008

A busy week

We are moving in two weeks. Which means school gets even more creative than usual. When I feel like packing, I pack. When we feel like doing school (which we do often actually), we do school. And much of our schooling comes in the form of field trips and fun activities... which of course, make the kids very happy.

We had a class at the Tacoma Nature Center called "What goes bump in the night?" that included a night nature walk. THAT was cool. Then we got to come back inside and make wolf masks and have cocoa (we were the last nature walk, we actually missed the cocoa). They talked a lot about what makes a nocturnal animal different from a daytime or crepuscular animal (one that is up at dawn and dusk). Espically the eyes. The larger eyes of night time animals also have internal differences... we got to learn all about that.

Then yesterday, my homeschool group put on a wonderful owl party. A woman from the Audubon Society came over with all of these taxidermy owls, and a great slide show of what owls need to live wild in our areas and how beneficial they are to the people they live around. It was wonderful! And as always with our parties, we each brought a craft. My friend Sarah had the kids make felted Owl Pellets... she brought beads, sticks, feathers, and tons of felting wool in 'fur' colors to make them, and then the kids hand water felted them as she talked about how owl digestion worked. Sometimes, I am in awe of the creativity that comes from my friends. Seriously. The kids spent the rest of the morning playing 'owl' and 'pellet'... a game in which one person is the owl that flies around (using their paper bag owl puppets that was a craft of Heather's (another mama friend of mine)) and then the other person is the pellet (curled up in a ball on the ground), and as the owl spits them out they 'pop' open and flail their legs and arms back and forth like they are falling from a tree. Cyan was willing to reenact the whole thing for me when we got home. It was really pretty neat all the facts that they were reinforcing over and over in their play.

There are times that I feel like I can't get through to them alone... and these parties are just that much more meaningful because of those times. Cyan and I studied owls last year... and she got it, and enjoyed it, but wasn't gung-ho about it. This time, she was able to answer the questions with the info she already had, reinforce the things she knew, get some new facts, and some really cool hands on stuff to go with it... and then it was like a light bulb went on and she got it. You know that moment I mean? The one where your kids know all the little details and are able to 'play' with the information they have gathered.

Alex and Cyan were playing with that information all afternoon. They were owls and pellets... she was a mouse and he was an owl... his puppet and her puppet were fighting over nest territory. All of this play that is reinforcing all that they spent the morning learning.

I can't imagine a better way to teach my children.

If you have noticed. I haven't been taking many pictures lately when we are not at home. That would be because I am chasing a toddler. Even with Don with me, like he was for Wolf Haven last Friday, I still find myself, more often than not, chasing a very adventurous toddler around where ever we go. As the rain started coming the mud followed. Trying to keep my camera dry, keep Logan out of the mud, and do whatever we are supposed to do all at the same time is just a bit too much for me. So no pictures. ;) Perhaps someone else in my group took some that I can post later.

For now, here are two pictures from the last day our pumpkin city was out.

The one above seemed like the spirits of the night were coming up out of the pumpkins. It meant a slow exposure, nothing surreal, but it was a cool effect anyway.

And of course, my pumpkin coach to go along with Cyan's Spiderella Castle. :)

No comments: